It is common knowledge that employees do not leave companies, they leave their bosses. Employees who are not satisfied with their supervisor’s leadership are four times more likely to leave their current jobs. If you are managing a team, you know that high turnover will not only affect the business, but your reputation as well. Below are 6 crucial management skills you must possess to gain the confidence and support of your team and to improve their performance.
Effective communication is critical for team management. It is one of the qualities of an effective supervisor. Communication is about expressing yourself and your views as a manager. You will need to communicate department goals, priorities,appreciation and strategy to the team.
Remember communication is two-way, and that active listening is a part of communication as well. Learn to listen to your team and understand their different communication styles. Plan official communication beforehand like writing it out to remember important points.
Confidence is a personal trait that grows strong through practice. The more you nurture it the more it blooms. It comes from self awareness and mastery. When you understand what you are good at and how to maximize your strengths, it shapes your confidence. Once you are confident of your strengths, you get the courage to be transparent about your weaknesses and even ask for help from your team without feeling less in control.
As a leader, your team members will not always agree with the way you do things. There will always be disagreements every once in awhile. Just because people disagree shouldn’t mean that they become enemies. A good leader understands this. Respect and kindness comes in to ensure relationships are not scarred by varying opinions.
Show your teammates that you respect their opinions even when you don’t agree with them. Make it a norm in your department for people to treat each other with respect and kindness by setting a good example.
Speaking of respect, if you want to lose it in the face of your team, start favoring some members of your team more than others. Favoritism is very frustrating for employees. It makes them question where they stand with you and whether you will be professional when the situation calls for it. Being fair is important for a manager. Applying the same standards for everyone in your team takes courage and discipline, but develops professionalism and respect. Create boundaries to create professional contacts not BFFs.
Your teammates look up to you for vision and execution of projects. As a department, your tasks should feed into the company’s main goals and objectives. If members of your department feel like you are just fumbling around with no purpose, they begin to panic.
Take time to reflect and see the bigger picture. Understand how each task in your department supports the business KPIs. Prioritize and make your team understand what is critical.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Businesses go through changes that necessitate reshuffling, modification in departments and teams. Such changes may throw off a team and cause panic. As a manager, you need to quickly adapt and take things in stride. When your team members see your positive attitude and flexibility, it helps them know that they too can thrive in the ongoing changes.
How To Manage Different Personalities in Your Team
Most conflicts in the workplace arise from the friction of personalities and ideologies. As a manager, your team’s harmonious existence is key to its performance. It is, therefore, in your best interest to minimise friction by understanding people and why they behave the way they do. Here are ways to manage different personalities in your team and improve performance.
Playing by the rules of the game is the motto most managers emphasize in their companies. Playing by the book is a good way of running a company since rules bring order. Despite this being true, you can choose to compromise on a few things here and there.
Not all your employees are going to support you on everything. In some occasions, some employees may feel differently about something. Just because you hold the final say does not mean you become a tyrant. Create a conducive environment for everyone where people are motivated to do their best. Even if you have to compromise a little. Focus on the success of the company but also invest in the wellness of your employees since they are the ones who will make the company successful. Moreover, everyone feels recognized when their opinions are taken into consideration.
Accept to Be Taught
You are the manager and you are where you are due to experience. However, learn to leave room to learn from your employees. No one is too old to learn or too young to teach. It may be hard to admit sometimes but one of your employees may have a better way of dealing with a situation than you.
Everyone has a different personality including you. This means people are unique and they may have a better solution than you. Furthermore, two heads are better than one. That is why you are working as a team in your department or company. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from others.
Maintain an Open Line of Communication
Are you the kind of person that your direct reports feel comfortable raising issues with or they prefer to stay with things bagging them? The way you portray yourself to your juniors matters a lot. They should respect you but not be afraid of talking to you when things come up. Let there be professional respect but maintain an open line of communication. This way when one of your employees has a problem or an idea that can benefit the company they will not hesitate to talk it over with you.
Handle Conflict Immediately it Arises
You should be cautious while handling personality conflicts. In no way should you appear to be biased if there is a personality conflict among your employees. Listen to all parties before making a conclusion. Do not wait too long wile tension ruins processes in your department. Do not let conflicts fester. Allowing issues to stay unhandled only leads to more problems. Keep in my mind there is always a second side to a story. Do not just rush with one side.
Useful Middle-Level Management Tips
Succeeding in middle-level management
Middle-level management is thought to be one of the levels where one has to learn how to balance expectations and people. It is typically the level below senior management and above lower levels of an organisation. At mid-level management, you will be responsible for an entire department and this means that there will be people who need your guidance while you must remain accountable to top level management. Therefore, you need to have excellent skills to ensure that those working under you are motivated, skilled, and fully engaged for you to be successful.
Typically, the most important skill at this level is seldom technical. Instead, your people-management skills will get you the results you need with minimum friction. Here are important skills that you will not even learn in top MBA schools;
Listening is more important than talking
It has been said many times that you have two ears to listen more and one mouth to talk less. Well, that is absolutely true in management. Your subordinates deal with customers and other stakeholders all the time. They know what needs to be done and from their experiences, they can offer a wealth of information about how to solve that little problem that has been giving you sleepless nights. Moreover, listening more will help you hear what is not being said and you will be more informed for it.
Most people mistake leadership with the absolute right to be heard but you will rarely learn something new from always talking. Listen more, ask more questions, be intuitive, and always ask for clarification. This way, you will gain a lot of information and you will be able to make more informed decisions.
Sometimes you have to tolerate undesirable habits
Karis is the top performer in your department. In fact, he manages to hit all his targets by the middle of the quarter. However, he just can never come to work on time and if you need him in a meeting, you better lie to him that it is starting 30 minutes earlier. Apart from that, there is really nothing else wrong with him. In this case, you are allowed to be more lenient with him in terms of time management.
However, this does not mean that you can look the other way if he delays other people’s work, is condescending, and totally impossible to work with. These are things that will eventually affect the productivity of other people on your team and should, therefore, not be overlooked. However, if some things like his ability to come to work on time, are your only issue, then you can look the other way. It may seem like favouritism but part of management is to learn personalities and work with individual needs and traits. Eventually, you will realise that you will have to tolerate something from almost everyone, as long as it does not affect productivity.
It is okay to be close to the people you manage
Once upon a time, being in management meant creating a barrier between you and your subordinates. You only interacted with them when issuing orders or reprimanding them. The relationship was mechanical and fear-based and not much was really achieved.
Well, if you want to succeed in the modern organisation, it is important to build relationships with your subordinates as this will make it easy for them to approach you, take your guidance, and correct their behaviour. If you cannot form a relationship with your subordinates, no one will come to you when there is a problem or one is about to happen and you will always find yourself putting out fires you could have easily avoided.
Ask people to volunteer for the less glamorous tasks
People will often avoid unpopular tasks but at the end of the day, they have to be done. So, instead of assigning them, why not ask people to volunteer for them? Throw in some incentive like getting an extra day off or working from home. Volunteers are likely to be more committed to the task that those who have been forced to perform the task. Offer your support for even better results and you will find it easy to enlist volunteers whenever you have an unpopular task.
Avoid rumours and gossip
It goes without saying that rumours and gossip tear apart relationships. It is even worse when those in management encourage such behaviour. Gossip and rumours within the workplace will often have missing bits and pieces. If someone wants to tell you something, make them provide evidence and ask them to repeat what they say in front of others. This way, you will avoid taking sides and having cliques, which only destroy relationships and slow down work.
Train people in such a way that they can replace you
Most people don’t want to work with subordinates who can challenge them. They see them as a threat and will often hire people who are less skilled or crash those who are more skilled. Well, this is detrimental because it will take a lot of personal effort on your part to get things done. Having skilled people around you is also good for your career because you will be hitting those targets like a boss and you will also learn from your team. Everyone wins so do not be sad about your subordinates being better than you. It works for your benefit.
Furthermore, realise that you cannot do it all by yourself. Empower your subordinates to take charge of their work and responsibilities. They will get better at it and you will spend less time keeping tabs on them and more on doing what matters.
Don’t be afraid to go hard on your subordinates
The general rule is that you should incentivize people to perform well and praise them when they do a good job. Well, while that motivates people to work harder, sometimes you have to go hard on people when their performance is below par. You have to be firm and let them know that you expect better results. It is not likely to be as effective as giving praise, but it is absolutely necessary.
Middle-level management can be challenging as it involves handling the expectations of senior management while ensuring that your subordinates are doing their job. Therefore, it is important to learn how to be in charge of your team so as to get the best results.